Saturday, 27 August 2016

you’ve been rick-rolled or carry on, constable

Despite increased scrutiny over the rhetoric of fear and derision and waning confidence in expert predictions and said experts presuming to dictate to the stakeholders how to vote, there was still a weight of shock and disappointment that many—at least vocal ones—were begrudging when those forecasts most dire, nor those pledges for prosperity everlasting for Brexit did not quite materialise. As if failing to recognise campaign promises for what they are or to remember what it is that politicians do, no one seemed quite sure what to make of a Ship of State that managed to navigate around both Scylla and Charybdis pretty much unscathed, at least in the immediate aftermath.
I cannot judge whether it was the correct decision or what the narrow margins mean, but insofar that Britain is not instantly free of the yoke of the EU nor neither financially imperilled over this choice, I do think the lack of confirmation of either the worst- or best-case scenarios and the failure (or vulnerability) of public sentiment to be turned by feckless forecasting—no side could truly know what the consequences would—is justification to call for a second referendum on the same subject. I feel it is the same arrogant presumptions that garners distrust in the words of experts that would ask people to second-guess themselves (invalidating or reaffirming their motivations), possibly fuelled by the same outrage and exaggeration of sore-losers, and ask them if they were sure that they wanted to vote that way. What do you think? Alea iacta est. Besides, the UK—in whole or in part, is not seeking a divorce from Europe, it’s rather separating itself from the policies and rules of the European Union, a big distinction. The EU is not Europe, but rather an economic and political experiment—with a raft of rules and regulations that have little to do with identity or partnership, and is not exactly treating the UK like a customer that is trying to switch service-providers. I think we will be exploring more of these models of undo and redo as the national election season creeps closer.

gruen transfer oder ghost malls

Going home every week, I pass by signs of the future local of “Barbarossa City” shopping centre, that I am supposing will be erected outside of the industrial park of the ancient town of Gelnhausen—home to one of the emperor’s palatial estates, and it makes me moan a little to think about the state of property development in Germany. There perhaps was a legitimate pitch to be made at one point but once there comes a saturation point when we only have ourselves to blame for siphoning off business from the Altstadt and Marktplatz, which still retain their charms, making online shopping commitment-free—delivered to your door via drone, and there quickly comes a point where the appeal and utility of galleries “anchored” by ample parking and a super-market diminishes to the point it’s no longer tenable.
Every other purchase made in the client stores is really just an impulse-buy and the domain who those who couldn’t be bothered to comparison- shop beforehand. There are several ghost malls—completely vacant or nearly so, that are one the periphery of Wiesbaden’s city centre and while the former has been kept because of it auto-garage for as long as I can remember, I’ve watched the rather sharp decline of the latter, whose retail spaces are ninety-percent empty and random (by not a rotation) of car rental outlets, a stationary shop, a t-shirt screen-printing business and a ubiquitous electronic store are all that are left. Even outside city limits, these projects seem designed for ruin after the developers, the barons have made their profit and saddled yet another middling-sized town with reticulated grocery store that steals commerce away from downtown and denying people the ability to shop—or at least the impression thereof, and leaving a landscape of struggling restaurants and shuttered corner shops, boutiques and antique shops to be replaced by mobile telephone and fast-food outlets. What do you think? I don’t care for this zombification, and given the parallel crisis in affordable housing, maybe such flagships of the retail sector might (or rather do) work if (when) they offered accommodation for living as well.

Friday, 26 August 2016


purdah: in defiance of statute and accepted cultural norms, an online campaign invites Iranian women to share images of themselves with their heads exposed, and in solidarity, men appear in hijabs

final frontier: the monumental park outside of Moscow honouring the pioneers of space exploration

red dwarf: the hinted at existence of exoplanet Proxima Centauri β is confirmed

goodwill ambassadors: Messy Nessy Chic digs up some vintage pocket guides issued to American service-members fighting overseas

at the third stroke: British Telecom is seeking out the speaking clock’s new voice, via the Presurfer

beyond antares: ladies and gentlemen, presenting the musical stylings of Miss Nichelle Nichols

gestalt or fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on

As an addendum to the spiffy tip we had on the crack-team of super-recognisers that could reform the way police work and mass-surveillance are carried—since what’s the use of closed-circuit television if nobody’s minding the screen, not discounting the progress of biometric markers—Dangerous Minds and Boing Boing offer up a self-assessment (a battery of tests that are like elimination rounds) that lets one find out if he or she might be blessed (or cursed) with this super-power. Science believes about one percent of the population can potentially harness this ability, and I thought it was interesting how some felt odd or embarrassed about having this breed of photographic-memory, and were worried that people might mistake being recalled as being stalked or obsessed.  Although the limited discriminatory powers of people might sometime result in profiling and mistaken identity, spotted and connected with human eyes seems more keen and focused that the indiscriminant use of facial-recognition software. What do you think? How did you score?